Lincolnshire
July 8, 2021 1.39 pm

COVID cases treble in Lincolnshire schools as bubbles are set to be scrapped

Government announced end of “bubbles” this week

The number of Lincolnshire school pupils and staff testing positive for COVID-19 has almost trebled in just over a month, the latest data shows.

Figures released this week from the Department for Education show that in the week to May 27, there were 57 staff and pupils with confirmed cases of COVID-19, 1,236 self-isolating and 470 suspected cases.

According to the latest figures from Lincolnshire County Council, in the week up to July 7, 98 local schools had reported 170 positive cases – a 198% rise since the end of May.

But the data for the number of pupils currently isolating has not yet been released by the DfE, but the figure is likely to be significantly higher.

It comes as government bosses this week announced the end of the use of “bubbles” in schools and colleges, after the current term ends.

From August 16, children will only need to self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19, and close contacts will instead be asked to undertake daily tests.

Pupils will also no longer need to wear face masks, socially distance or have staggered start and finish times.

The responsibility for testing pupils will be transferred to the NHS Test and Trace system.

Of the 1,236 staff and pupils self-isolating at the end of May, 986 were doing so because of contact tracing within classrooms, while 250 were due to contacts outside of the schools.

The figures, for state-funded schools, were released this week and cover the current 2020/21 school year from September 10 to May 27.

Secondary schools saw the highest number of isolations, with 820 students and 12 teachers affected, while 366 pupils and eight teachers at primary school level were away from the classroom.

Special schools were the least affected with just two isolations and six suspected cases in total.

Since the start of the school year, the peak week for Lincolnshire’s schools was that of December 10, which saw 257 confirmed cases of the virus reported to the DfE in pupils. The DfE data does not record the official total number of pupils isolating at that point due to COVID, but places the estimate between 7,669 and 8,716.

The week of March 3 saw the most pupils in isolation due to contact with cases inside schools officially recorded at a high of 2,611. At that point 111 pupils were absent from school with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The majority of schools have remained open since September, with the number of open schools falling to 97.3% on November 19.

Infection rates earlier this week showed the age gap between those infected had widened with secondary school age children now having some of the highest rates. Young people aged 15-19 had an infection rate of 427.1 per 100k in Lincolnshire, while those aged 10-14, have a rate of 279.3.

However, 5-9 and 0-4 year olds show significant drop-offs to 76.1 and 33.3 per 100k population respectively.

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